I’m at a corner table in the coffee shop I frequent every Wednesday when, without a word, the gracious owner places a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie next to my laptop. She waits with expectant eyes, proud of her confection, willing me to take a bite. The delectable aroma of hot chocolate chips wafts up to my nose and instantly, my mouth is watering. My initial reaction is COME TO MAMA! followed by a silent panic: CODE RED! CODE RED! REMOVE THIS DELICIOUSNESS FROM MY AREA IMMEDIATELY! DON’T YOU KNOW I’M TRYING TO AVOID THIS STUFF, KIND BAKER WOMAN?!
I’ve been weaning myself from the copious amounts of sugar I love to consume so very, very much, but I can’t offend the nice lady who wants to give me free things, can I?! So, I eat it. And I lurrrrrve it. So much. Then I want more. And then I realize that shaky meth-head thing is happening again: I will cut kind baker woman for more. MUST. HAVE. MORE!
A few months ago, I would’ve caved and had another cookie then stopped for a sugary coffee drink on the way home, then absentmindedly shoveled my kids’ leftover sugary Valentine’s Day candy into my face as I made their lunch. Rinse, repeat the same scenario before and after dinner, and you’ve got my day in a nutshell. Because I wasn’t downing huge meals, I didn’t think my eating habits were that bad. I rarely eat fried foods, I never drink pop, and I prefer mushrooms to pepperoni on my pizza. I was the poster child of good choices, eh? I was putting crap in my body all day, every day. My mornings started with sugary creamer in my coffee, the rest of the day was punctuated with snacking, and my husband, the Ice Cream King, never failed to deliver when I had a sugar craving at night. The more I ate, the more I wanted, and the more my body was all hayle nah and kept working against me (hello, colonoscopy at age 34…). I had been feeling defeated and afraid, but never once considered sweets were the problem.
Back to the free cookie in the coffee shop. As I was fighting the out of control urge to hurdle the bakery counter and swim in frosting, I heard Susan’s words in my head: “Pay attention to how you feel, learn from it, and move on.” Susan is my sugar sponsor, which isn’t true because I just named her that right now, but she is a wellness coach with whom I’ve been working to kick my sugar habit. She’d be a great sponsor, though, and fits the bill, too: she is generous with her time and talks me off the ledge when a craving hits. Her easy breezy response to chug water and not dwell on the slip-ups makes me feel like she isn’t judging me. I love that about Susan.
Though there have been some ooopsies–never shoulda brought those dark chocolate covered toffee balls into this house–for the most part, I’ve been doing really well. I’ve made lifestyle changes; I’m not on a diet, I’m not depriving myself–I’m just making better decisions. I’m also not counting calories, which is something I refuse to teach my daughters how to do. I am, quite simply, a healthier version of me.
Why does Susan make a difference?
She has a three-pronged approach to healthier living: more water, healthier but not restrictive diet, and increased activity.
What I love about Susan:
1. She makes tweaks to my current diet; she doesn’t create a new one
This is huge! No fish oil to replace salad dressing (seriously, who are you people?!), no eating only green stuff. I get my morning coffee with a yummy breakfast and SNACKS, too!
2. She takes the mental grind into account
I’m a head case, an emotional eater, a needy pat-me-on-the-back type. Susan gets it, and what’s more is she helps me get it. She’s right there in my head with me (sorry ’bout the mess, Susan!).
3. She holds me accountable
We touch base every day, and knowing that she’s rooting for me–not waiting for me to fail–really makes a difference.
4. Susan is kind
She’s not the yelly Jillian Michaels type, though I do think Susan could kick JM’s ass. She reminds me to be kind to myself, which is something I need to remember (especially when I down a free cookie at the bakery).
Changes I’ve Made (and stuck with!):
1. I work out 5-6 days a week for 30 minutes at a time. I still refuse to run unless a rabid raccoon is chasing me, but I get my heart rate up and break a sweat.
2. I drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.
3. I pee a lot. (please see #2)
4. Instead of sugary snacks, I eat lots of veggies and hummus and have become a little obsessed with peanut butter Fit Protein Bars (in moderation!)
5. No more creamer in my coffee. A little Almond Milk or a pinch of real sugar and I’m all set.
6. I keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in my kitchen. At Susan’s suggestion, I brush when I get a craving. Usually a fresh, minty mouth is enough to keep me away from the goodies in my pantry.
7. I don’t deprive myself. We do Sunday family dinners every week, and I’ll have the (smaller piece) of lasagna and follow it up with a (little bit) of cake. But then I note how I feel bloated and bogged down later that evening and even on Monday mornings, and vow to do better next week. I’ve got a really bad memory, though, so you’ll usually find me bogged down on Monday mornings. Teehee.
Two months working with Susan and I’ve lost weight, my skin is brighter, I have more energy, and I haven’t had to dart to the bathroom after a meal. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention other people are noticing, too. My brother actually used the word “skinny” when he saw me the other day, and my mom commented on the decrease of the junk in my trunk. I can’t tell you what that felt like. I’m doing the hard work, but I know in my heart that if not for Susan, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I’m still a work in progress, but the keyword is progress!